X-Calvinist Corner Files: Testimony # 29

, posted by SEA

The X-Calvinist Corner is a page on this website that shares the stories of people who were once Calvinist but have left Calvinism for a more Arminian theology. This series (The X-Calvinist Corner Files) highlights one of the testimonies from the X-Calvinist Corner in each installment.

Today’s testimony is from someone named B. I. Kennedy writing in 2013:

I was born again in a Southern Baptist church that did not talk a lot about soteriology, other than how to be saved, and that once you were saved, you were always saved. That was it. I encountered a digest of Calvin’s Institutes while at a collegiate missions conference, and was hooked. The logic made sense to me. From that point forward I was basically Calvinist in outlook, although I did not consider it a high priority to push my views on others.

I went off to seminary for the second time in 2007, and was immediately confronted by the type of people whom one of their own number later referred to as “Calvinist, and a jerk about it,” My school does not have an official position on that specific issue, but the number of students and faculty who are vocal about their Calvinism is growing all the time. The arrogance that unfortunately accompanies many of them caused me to start to question the system, because in John 13:34-35, Jesus declares that all men will know that we are His disciples if we _love_ one another. Theological arrogance is not loving.

I had never been comfortable with the idea of particular atonement, although the rest of the TULIP seemed reasonable. The arrogance I encountered caused me to search for the other side of the story in order to see if the Calvinists’ dismissal of it was warranted… after all, millions of Methodists and other Christians around the globe probably aren’t all deceived. My search in our school’s library turned up Roger Olson’s brilliant and irenic defense of classical Arminianism, entitled _Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities_. His calm evisceration of the idea of particular atonement caused me to rethink everything. If you cannot hold on to particular atonement, the entire system collapses. If you do hold it, you have either just made God the author of evil, or you have twisted the meanings of words in the English language beyond comprehension. I absolutely cannot make God the source of sin, so for me Calvinism went up in smoke.

I consider myself a Baptist who is a classical Arminian.